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Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers

 
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:39 PM   #1
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Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


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Ed
Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers

by Todd Beeton, Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:15:08 PM EST
Wow. Chalk one up for the good guys. After 5 days of a peaceful occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Illinois, which included a weekend of what had reportedly been productive talks between Republic workers who simply want the pay and benefits they've earned and Bank of America, which is Republic's creditor, it looks like, as The AP's headline puts it: "workers win."
Bank of America says it will extend credit to a Chicago window and door maker whose workers have occupied the factory for five days.
The bank said Tuesday that it's willing to give the Republic Windows and Doors factory "a limited amount of additional loans." That's so it can resolve claims of employees who have staged a sit-in since Friday.
The factory closed Friday after Bank of America canceled its financing.
Workers were given three days' notice. But they refused to leave and vowed to stay there until receiving assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.
This was a very important victory not only for the workers in that particular factory but potentially for workers all over the country in particular to the extent that it put a human face on the importance of unions in winning workers the pay and benefits they deserve.
As Scarecrow says:
We're likely to see thousands of dramas just like this all over the country, as more and more businesses teeter on the solvency edge and slip over into bankruptcy. In the Republic case, we had a union willing to support the workers in their courageous sit in, and to bargain with the company's bank. That example is going to be seen, understood and reenacted across the country.
Also, it's worth watching Rachel Maddow's piece on the protest. As she says, what a huge difference it makes when the (incoming) president supports worker protests such as this.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:42 PM   #2
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


From the AP.

Ed

CHICAGO – The creditor of a Chicago plant where laid-off employees are conducting a sit-in to demand severance pay said Tuesday it would extend limited loans to the factory so it could resolve the dispute, but the workers declared their protest unfinished.

The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed last week after Bank of America canceled its financing. About 200 laid-off workers responded by staging a sit-in at the plant, vowing to stay until getting assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.

Their action garnered national attention, seen by some as a symbol of defiance for workers laid off nationwide.

A resolution appeared closer when the bank announced that it had sent a letter to Republic offering to "provide a limited amount of additional loans" to resolve the employee claims.

The bank appeared to side at least in part with disgruntled workers, expressing concern in a statement Tuesday "about Republic's failure to pay their employees the Employee Claims to which they are legally entitled."

Bank of America has been criticized for cutting off the plant's credit after taking federal bailout money itself.

Leah Fried, a spokeswoman for the union representing the workers, said Tuesday that it was too soon to know whether the sit-in will be called off.

She said that workers would have to vote to end the action but that negotiations among the bank, the company and union representative continued.

Workers, who received just three days' notice before the plant shut down on Friday, argue that the company violated federal law because employees were not given 60 days' notice that they were losing their jobs.
The company did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.

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Old 12-09-2008, 11:51 PM   #3
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed the Roofer View Post
From the AP.

Ed

CHICAGO – The creditor of a Chicago plant where laid-off employees are conducting a sit-in to demand severance pay said Tuesday it would extend limited loans to the factory so it could resolve the dispute, but the workers declared their protest unfinished.

The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed last week after Bank of America canceled its financing. About 200 laid-off workers responded by staging a sit-in at the plant, vowing to stay until getting assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.

Their action garnered national attention, seen by some as a symbol of defiance for workers laid off nationwide.

A resolution appeared closer when the bank announced that it had sent a letter to Republic offering to "provide a limited amount of additional loans" to resolve the employee claims.

The bank appeared to side at least in part with disgruntled workers, expressing concern in a statement Tuesday "about Republic's failure to pay their employees the Employee Claims to which they are legally entitled."

Bank of America has been criticized for cutting off the plant's credit after taking federal bailout money itself.

Leah Fried, a spokeswoman for the union representing the workers, said Tuesday that it was too soon to know whether the sit-in will be called off.

She said that workers would have to vote to end the action but that negotiations among the bank, the company and union representative continued.

Workers, who received just three days' notice before the plant shut down on Friday, argue that the company violated federal law because employees were not given 60 days' notice that they were losing their jobs.
The company did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
Is that really a federal law?I can remember back in the day being laid-off and not getting anything near 60 days notice...
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:02 AM   #4
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


The workers should of been arrested for tresspassing. Now we will see this everywhere.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:19 AM   #5
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


More Details Emerge on Republic Closing
December 9, 2008
Companies

Chicago-based Republic Windows & Doors closed its doors last Friday, setting off an unlikely whirlwind when factory workers staged a sit-in that attracted the attention of political leaders and the national media (see related story). On the same day, Traco reported the sale of its residential window unit based in Red Oak, Iowa, to Echo Windows LLC, a new company that was later revealed to be formed by the family of Rich Gillman, who is also chairman, president and CEO and part owner of Republic.

When Republic initially shut down operations, officials attributed the closing to deteriorating demand due to the weak housing market and a Bank of America decision not to extend its line credit. Initial statements by the company made no reference to Echo Windows and its acquisition of the Traco manufacturing plant in Iowa.

At this point, no further statements regarding plans for the future of Republic or Echo have been announced, but protesting workers appear to be on their way to getting the severence and vacation pay they say they are due. Over the five days of the sit-in, the window manufacturer and its creditor, Bank of America have exchanged statements each putting responsibility for the workers' claims in the other hands. Today, however, Bank of America announcing yesterday it would loan the company additional funds to cover the employee claims.

In staging the sit-in, Republic’s union workers directed much of their protest at Bank of America, pointing out that it was the recipient of $25 billion of government bail-out money. The attention gained by the workers as a result led Bank of America to issue a statement on Monday, which stated "by any objective measure, Republic Windows & Doors is unable to operate profitably given the challenges of the current economic climate and its industry. Public statements by management of the company have made this clear.

“When a company faces such a dire situation, its lender is not empowered to direct the company’s management how to manage its affairs and what obligations should be paid,” the statement continued. "Such decisions belong to the management and owners of the company."

Republic management issued a statement in response that said the company first presented its plan for an “orderly” wind down, including a schedule to cease manufacturing in January 2009, in mid-October. At the time, according to Republic officials, Bank of America was informed of “possible WARN Act Notice issues and vacation pay.”

According to Republic’s chronology, Bank of America rejected that plan and demanded a “shorter wind down period.” In late October, the window manufacturer responded with a new plan that would cease operations in January 2009, which was also rejected. Republic also reports it requested Bank of America’s permission to issue vacation to workers at the end of November, and that request was rejected.

"Despite inheriting a company bloated with overhead and lacking any type of manufacturing discipline and/or productivity, the company makes significant improvements only to encounter and unprecedented decline in new home construction, which led to a decline of company sales to new construction of 80 percent," Republic’s statement reads. "This placed the company in the impossible position of not having the ability to further reduce fixed costs, coupled with severe constrictions in the capital debt markets and an unwillingness of the current debt holder to continue funding the operations."

On Monday, representatives of the union, Republic and Bank of America met to address worker demands for severance and vacation day, as well as an extension of benefits. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the 240 union workers staging the sit-in decided to stay put at least until negotiations between their representatives, company owners and Bank of America continued Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who moderated the talks, told the newspaper the tone of the three-hour meeting was conciliatory and that the focus was on helping the workers have a "joyous and prosperous Christmas." Representatives for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, the union representing Republic’s workers, raised the possibility of the plant reopening, Gutierrez also said.

That meeting was followed on December 9, with Bank of America announcing it sent a letter to Republic indicating that the bank is prepared to provide a limited amount of additional loans to Republic to help fund a comprehensive resolution of employee claims. Bank officials note that the letter "expressed concern in the letter about Republic’s failure to pay their employees" and that Bank of America is "prepared to make these additional loans despite the fact that Bank of America is not obligated to pay Republic’s employees or make additional loans to Republic."

The letter concludes that because it has no direct relationship with Republic’s employees, "Bank of America must rely on Republic and its management to negotiate with the union and Republic’s employees regarding the employee claims."
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


The WARN Act

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) was enacted on August 4, 1988 and became effective on February 4, 1989.

WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.

In general, employers are covered by WARN if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week.

Excerpted from:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Fact Sheet
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:51 PM   #7
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by ruskent View Post
The workers should of been arrested for tresspassing. Now we will see this everywhere.
Yeah, should have hired some Pinkertons
to go in and bust heads, maybe shoot
a few of 'em!
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:54 PM   #8
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by ruskent View Post
The workers should of been arrested for tresspassing. Now we will see this everywhere.


Agreed. Next thing you know squatter will be moving into foreclosed homes in Florida.






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Old 12-10-2008, 09:08 PM   #9
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by ruskent View Post
The workers should of been arrested for tresspassing. Now we will see this everywhere.
The company [Republic Window] stood behind their former employees by NOT pressing/instigating any charges.
BoA refused to open the purse strings.

...and if we do it see it everywhere -GOOD!


The greed of corporate America makes me want to puke.

Republic Window is no saint here...they turned around, renamed the company, opened in a new location.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:11 PM   #10
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Wow, more corruption from Chicago? Who would have thought?
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:02 PM   #11
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


The blame is not on BOA. The window company condition made loaning them money high risk. BOA is not at fault for not loaning to them!!!
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:26 PM   #12
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Celtic View Post
The greed of corporate America makes me want to puke.
I'd agree with you on that in regards to public companies, but not privately held one, how would you like a cap on how much you can make in your own company. The real problem here is the greed of the unions.





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Old 12-10-2008, 11:43 PM   #13
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyco View Post
I'd agree with you on that in regards to public companies, but not privately held one, how would you like a cap on how much you can make in your own company. The real problem here is the greed of the unions.





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Old 12-11-2008, 08:04 AM   #14
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyco View Post
I'd agree with you on that in regards to public companies, but not privately held one, how would you like a cap on how much you can make in your own company. The real problem here is the greed of the unions.
Is there a law that caps how much I can make in my own company?
I'll need a link/reference.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:31 PM   #15
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyco View Post
The real problem here is the greed of the unions.





.

I agree, the UAW is the posterchild of union greed
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:43 PM   #16
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


Quote:
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Is there a law that caps how much I can make in my own company?
Yes, the law of supply and demand.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:48 AM   #17
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Re: Bank Of America Gives In To Republic Windows And Doors Workers


And now BoA is laying off 35000 over the next 3 years..

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...layoffs12.html

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